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July 25, 2017

7-25-2017 The Trump Administration moves forward with Abstinence-Only sex education for teens….|Vox|

  • A few weeks ago, the Trump administration quietly pulled the plug on more than $200 million worth of federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs around the country. [NPR / Audie Cornish]
  • The grants were funding research on the most effective forms of preventing teen pregnancy. These projects were three years into a five-year grant period when the funding was axed, leaving researchers scrambling to come up with the money elsewhere. [Austin American-Statesman / Taylor Goldenstein]
  • The move reportedly came from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services; Trump recently appointed a well-known abstinence-only education advocate named Valerie Huber to be the office’s chief of staff. [Reveal / Jane Kay]
  • Cutting the funding is unusual, both because the grants were already in place and because the cuts happened outside the normal congressional budget process. [Wired / Megan Molteni]
  • Many of the programs were notified with a letter saying their research was no longer in the government’s best interest. This has prevention advocates concerned that the Trump administration is returning to an era of abstinence-only sex education. [Reveal / Jane Kay]
  • Abstinence-only education, which was the standard up until President Obama took office, was discontinued in favor of research into comprehensive, evidenced-based sex education classes for teens. [Bustle / Bronwyn Isaac]
  • Abstinence-only programs have proven unsuccessful at lowering teen pregnancy rates, and some studies have shown that they may actually make those rates higher. [PLOS One / Kathrin Stanger-Hall, and David Hall]
  • The move comes at a critical time, when teen pregnancy rates have been trending downward due to a combination of better access to contraception and better sex education. [Pew Research / Eileen Patten and Gretchen Livingston]

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